Julie Lavitt grew up in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and attended Michigan State University. After college, she spent many years doing kitchen and bath design. She was living in Santa Monica when she met Arthur Lavitt of Charlotte, NC. They dated long distance before she moved to Charlotte. Now married with two wonderful boys, Julie enjoys the flexibility of owning an in-home stationery and invitation business and being a stay-at-home mom. Before COVID19, she volunteered in a reading program for underprivileged children. Julie also enjoys cooking and travel. Due to Arthur commuting to New York every week for work, they bought a house in the Hamptons to spend their summers.
EAT: RESTAURANTS IN THE HAMPTONS
One of our favorite things to do in the Hamptons is dining out. There are so many locally grown ingredients that the farm-to-table experience never disappoints.
Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House
Stepping onto the grounds of Jean-Georges will make you feel transported back in time to some enchanted garden. This is a special historical gem that has been restored to glory and provides a unique and special culinary experience. Topping Rose grows as many of their ingredients as possible. What they can’t grow in their garden is sourced from other local farmers and fisherman. Usually, our order includes the beet and strawberry salad. It is paired with a sherry vinaigrette and shallots and dusted with crushed pistachios and pickled red onions. It’s a must when you visit in the summertime. Another favorite is the local striped bass from Montauk, which is sautéed until crisp and served on a bed of charred summer squash with a tart apricot-lime emulsion. You will definitely need a reservation in advance as it is one of the toughest summer weekend bookings to get (they only release the availability one week in advance).
1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor
Duryea’s Lobster Deck
Another favorite and much more casual spot is Duryea’s Lobster Deck in Montauk. It’s on the water and fun for all ages. You can take a walk on the long pier while waiting for a table. They do not take reservations, so the wait in the summer could be painful if not for the sweeping views of Fort Pond Bay and an incredible sunset. Their signature dish is the Lobster Cobb Salad. It is just the right size for my husband—massive! I am a “mayo-phobe” and I love this salad. Most of its creaminess comes from its buttermilk dressing with tarragon accents. We forfeit the bacon bits, but there is still sliced cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and eggs mixed with whole butter lettuce leaves. The salad can serve four as a starter, so if it is just the two of us, we usually combine it with a couple of apps. The baked cherrystone clams and roasted cauliflower with tahini dipping sauce are also delicious. Don’t miss the basket of French fries either!
65 Tuthill Road, Montauk
No meal in the Hamptons would be complete without a stop at my all-time favorite yogurt shop, BuddhaBerry. Sometimes the line can be out the door, but it’s worth every minute. They have a large rotating selection of high-quality yogurt and sorbet with many flavors and toppings for every level of sophistication. It can almost be overwhelming—think everything from peanut-butter-and-jelly balls to toasted quinoa. Don’t miss this Sag Harbor institution!
125 Main Street, Sag Harbor
STAY: HAMPTONS HOTELS
Each town in the Hamptons has a different vibe. None of them have large hotels like Manhattan, which is part of the East End charm.
Sag Harbor is an old whaling town where most of the buildings are in their original state. For a classic stay right on the harbor, I would suggest Baron’s Cove. The rooms are clean and have a nautical flair. It was renovated a few years ago and features beach access, a great restaurant, and a saltwater pool. It is convenient to all Sag Harbor has to offer, including quaint shops, wonderful restaurants with harbor views, art galleries, and the local farmers market held on Saturdays.
31 West Water Street, Sag Harbor
Topping Rose House
If you are looking for chic, luxurious, and enchanting, Topping Rose in Bridgehampton fits the bill. It’s a 22-room hotel with a handful of modern cottages. The rooms are clean and contemporary yet soothing. There is a spa hidden away underground. It also has a pool and beach access. Bridgehampton is not as large as some of the other towns but has plenty to offer as far as food, shops, and art galleries.
1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor
SHOP: LOCAL GIFTS + SPECIALTY SHOPS
One of the things the Hamptons does best is shopping (or maybe it’s me that does shopping best!). It’s hard to know where to start. While all the towns are filled with stylish stores, restaurants, and galleries, Southampton is my favorite because it has the broadest selection.
Homenature, which has two outposts in Manhattan, has the most beautiful furniture and accessories to decorate a beach home.
6 Main Street, Southampton
The other home store I love is Rumrunner. It’s coastal chic with a modern flair. They are located in Southampton and Wainscott.
62 Hampton Road, Southampton
If you’re looking for trendy, luxurious casual clothing, Henry Lehr is a staple in the Hamptons. Other locations are in Sag Harbor, East Hampton, and Amagansett.
72 Main Street, Southampton
Tenet is another favorite. An offshoot of their Aspen location, the store definitely has a nostalgic vibe with an eclectic group of clothing designers for both men and women. They also have an East Hampton location.
91 Main Street, Southampton
PLAY: THINGS TO DO IN THE HAMPTONS
If you are into water activities, Long Island is your place. The close proximity to the ocean and bay allows you to hang out at the beach, fish, or participate in a large number of water sports.
Not everyone knows about the Hamptons’ artistic heritage. American impressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem and Elaine de Kooning set up homes and studios there to paint the beautiful landscapes. You can still visit Jackson Pollock’s house in East Hampton.
830 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton
Market Art + Design
Every 4th of July week, Bridgehampton hosts the Market Art + Design show when galleries from all over the world set up under an enormous tent to sell their incredible art. It’s like a mini Art Basel.
The Bridgehampton Museum, 2368
Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton
Parrish Art Museum
The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill has a beautiful Lichtenstein sculpture out in front and is home to wonderful exhibits throughout the year.
279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill